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Quebec Among Top-Ranked Provinces on Society Report Card

Ottawa, April 5, 2017— Quebec earns a “B” grade and places 11th among 26 comparator regions, just one spot below the top-ranked province, New Brunswick, on The Conference Board of Canada’s society report card. The How Canada Performs: Society report card is the first to compare the Canadian provinces against 16 advanced countries on social performance. 

chart with grades for Canada and the provinces on society report card

“Quebec is the second-highest ranked Canadian province thanks to low crime rates and high reported life satisfaction,” said Craig Alexander, Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist, The Conference Board of Canada. “However, Quebec’s top ranking amongst the provinces masks the need for improvement on equity issues, such as high racial and immigrant wage gaps. Improving labour market opportunities and conditions for disadvantaged groups can help the province build stronger social cohesion and improve economic performance.”


  • Quebec earns a “B” grade and ranks 11th overall, just below the top-ranked province, New Brunswick.
  • The province receives “A” grades on the two crime indicators: homicides and burglaries.
  • Relative to the other provinces, Quebec does not fare well on equity indicators such as immigrant and racial wage gaps.
  • Half of the provinces score “B” grades and are middle-of-the-pack performers.
  • Canada gets a “B” overall and ranks 10th among the 16 peer countries.

Quebec scores “A”s on three of ten indicators used to assess overall social performance: homicides, burglaries, and life satisfaction. Quebec has the second-lowest three-year average homicide rate in the country, after Newfoundland and Labrador, with a significant drop in its homicide rate in 2013 and 2014. The province also does well on the burglaries indicator, with an average burglary rate just below the national average of 438 burglaries per 100,000 population.

Quebec is a “B” performer on a number of indicators: income inequality, jobless youth, social network support, and suicides. When it comes to jobless youth, the province falls in the middle of the pack. With 15.3 per cent of people aged 20-24 who are neither in school nor working, the province places 15th out of 26 regions on this indicator.

The province earns “C” grades on three indicators: gender wage gap, poverty and voter turnout. Quebec performs better than the national average on gender wage gap, with a difference in median weekly earnings of 16.4 per cent between men and women in the province. It is among the lowest-ranked on voter turnout with the second-lowest voter turnout rate in the 2015 federal election, after Newfoundland and Labrador. Meanwhile, the province’s poverty rate is above the national average.

Relative to the other provinces, Quebec does not fare well on two equity indicators not included in the overall rankings (because comparable international data are not available): immigrant and racial wage gaps. On the immigrant wage gap, Quebec gets a “C” with the third-highest wage gap after Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The hourly wages of university-educated landed immigrants living in the province are on average 26.5 per cent lower than those of Canadian-born citizens. At almost 20 percent, Quebec has the highest racial wage gap among the provinces.

Canada earns a “B” grade overall and ranks 10th among the 16 peer countries on the Society report card. The country ranks high on life satisfaction but does poorly relative to top-ranked peers on poverty, income inequality, gender wage gap, and voter turnout.

How Canada Performs is an ongoing research program at The Conference Board of Canada to help leaders identify relative strengths and weaknesses in Canada’s socio-economic performance. Six performance domains are assessed: Economy, Education and Skills, Innovation, Environment, Health, and Society.

Explore the results of the How Canada Performs: Society report card in-depth at a live webinar on April 19, 2017 at 02:00 PM EDT.

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